Uber Says Taxis Don't Equitably Serve The South And West Sides

By aaroncynic in News on Oct 7, 2015 10:55PM

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A yellow cab (Photo by Elena Kovalevich via the Chicagoist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)

"Sadly many Chicagoans are used to the lack of taxis in their neighborhood, so this is nothing new for them," Uber rep Brooke Anderson in a press release in response to news of the upcoming strike. "Uber will continue serving all of Chicago with economic opportunities and safe rides."

Cab drivers are planning a 24 hour strike they’ve dubbed “day without a cab driver,” beginning at 6 a.m. They say the lack of regulation on ride-share services, along with new proposals from Mayor Rahm Emanuel including new fees and surcharges as well as allowing them to pick up from airports and McCormick Place, are unfair. Uber drivers also don’t have to go through the same background checks cab drivers do, and don’t have to pay for insurance or medallions.

"I consider it like a wounded animal in intensive care. The mayor's proposal came as a surprise to us, and it's like the last straw that's going to kill that animal," Fayez Khozindar of the United Taxi Drivers Community Council told ABC7.

Uber says that 54 percent of rides begin or end in neighborhoods that are underserved by taxis and public transportation. The company also says that 20 percent of active uberX drivers come from the South and West Sides of the city, and that it’s planning on recruiting an additional 10,000 drivers from those neighborhoods by the end of the year.

Chicago Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek called the strike by cab drivers “irresponsible.” According to CBS2, in a letter, Lapacek said:

“No one industry should have the ability to disrupt the lives of Chicagoans and travelers by refusing to provide essential transit services. This work stoppage runs the risk of causing significant disruption or inconvenience to passengers arriving at the airports or traveling across the City, as well as the risk of harming public health, safety, and welfare in other ways.”

Following the announcement of the strike Wednesday afternoon, the Chicago Department of Aviation released a statement recommending air travelers plan to take public transportation, for example the Blue or Orange CTA Lines, to and from the airports Thursday.